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Odisha to tap green power resources

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 27: The state cabinet today decided to set up the Odisha Green Energy Development Corporation to tap renewable energy potential.

The decision came in the wake of increasing opposition to thermal power projects by local residents and green activists citing pollution.

The corporation will function as a subsidiary of the state-owned Odisha Hydro Power Production Limited and will prepare a plan to tap 16,230MW non-conventional energy as evaluated by the Odisha Renewable Development Energy Agency. Maximum efforts will be made to generate solar energy.

The state government has set a target to generate 14,000MW solar power, 1,700MW from wind power, 350MW from bio-gas, 160MW from small hydel power projects and rest from municipal wastes.

At present, the state hardly generates power from non-conventional sources despite tremendous potential in this sector.

The state government is managing to draw 2,700MW power from various sources as against its peak demand of 3,300MW. To become a power surplus state, the Odisha government has signed agreements with 29 independent power producers to produce 37,440MW thermal power. However, most of these projects have not taken off because of resistance from the local people.

In another move, the state cabinet decided to streamline the auction of the liquor shops to mop more excise revenue. “E-auctioning of liquor shops will fetch more revenue to the state exchequer while transparency will be maintained. The winning bid will be valid for three years,” said an official.

However, liquor shop owners have opposed the move. “People and criminals from outside now will have the control to regulate liquor shops. It will also encourage the local vendors to go for spurious liquor,” P.K. Das, president of the Liquor Shop Owners’ Association, Khurda district.

An official said the last auctioning of county and foreign liquor shop licences had taken place in 2005 through traditional lottery system. With the e-auctioning, the state hopes that its excise revenue collection will go up from Rs 1,380 crore in 2012-13 to Rs 1,700 crore in the next year.

To encourage private entrepreneurs to set up food-processing units, the cabinet approved a new policy with a package of fiscal incentives.

While 25 per cent subsidy will be given to set up a food-processing unit, the subsidy percentage will be 33 for SC, ST and women entrepreneurs and investors in the undivided Koraput-Balangir-Kalahandi region. However, the subsidy amount has been capped at Rs 2 crore.

Apart from subsidy, the food-processing units will be exempted from value added tax for 10 years since their inception.